MACC committee member: Najib’s palace visit casts shadow on king’s speech

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Malaysia is fortunate to have a head of state who is vociferous in condemning the scourge of corruption, according to MACC special committee (JKMR) member Hassan Abdul Karim.

“Graft is the number one foe and inflation, second. If the two combine like in Malaysia, it can ‘kill’ 33 million citizens. So, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s speech was crucial and relevant,” he added.

However, the PKR lawmaker regretted that former premier Najib Abdul Razak’s presence at the palace had cast a shadow on the monarch’s words of wisdom.

“Permit me to speak the truth and to be frank although it might be bitter and dangerous,” he said in a hard-hitting statement this morning.

Hassan was responding to Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah’s speech at Universiti Teknologi Mara’s (UITM) convocation ceremony yesterday, where His Majesty emphasised inculcating noble values in students and denounced corruption as a cancer that could ruin civilisations.

Refraining from assigning the blame to the Agong out of respect for the royal institution and Istana Negara, the Pasir Gudang MP focused on his advisers and aides as well as the attorney-general.

“The palace officials have impressive titles such as ‘Datuk Bijaya Diraja’, ‘Datuk Bentara Diraja’ and so forth. The king also has access to the attorney-general, who acts as the government’s lawyer.

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“Did none of them have the courage to advise the king not to invite Najib (who was convicted for corruption) to Istana Negara?” he asked.

Hassan said while he respected an individual’s right to invite whomever he or she chooses especially during the month of Ramadan, the Agong, however, is the nation’s head and this role outweighs personal matters.

“The Agong’s duties are official at all times because he is the chief of the executive, legislature and judiciary.

“Therefore, I believe Istana Negara erred when Najib was invited to dine with the king. This episode went viral on social media and the postings were shared by many, including students.

“Certainly, there were undergraduates at the UITM convocation who were reminded of Najib being invited to the palace upon hearing His Majesty’s advice regarding corruption,” he added.

Najib’s moral obligation

Hassan said Najib had the moral obligation to remind the monarch he was convicted and sentenced on over seven charges in connection with the RM42 million from SRC International.

“Najib should have been a statesman with the courage to tell the king that ‘innocent until proven otherwise’ does not apply to him because he was found guilty by both the High Court and Court of Appeal.

“Although he has filed an appeal with the Federal Court, this does not mean his conviction and sentence have been dismissed,” he added.

For the record, Hassan said his comments should not be construed as slander or incitement but rather made based on facts.

“There is no ill intention. I can choose to be quiet but this was not the will of the Agong when he appointed me as a member of the special committee on corruption,” he added.

Najib, whose critics claim is hoping for a royal pardon, is also on trial over charges related to 1MDB, which has been described as the biggest financial scandal in the world.

Previously, former Malaysian Bar president Ambiga Sreenevasan also expressed disappointment over Najib’s palace rendezvous.

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She claimed that judges were present at one of the events which the former premier attended.

“I am given to understand that at another gathering, judges were apparently present, thus putting them in an embarrassing position. These are, after all, His Majesty’s judges,” she said. – Malaysiakini